Wasn't quite sure what to make of it on first listen, but have played it several times now I think it's probably their best work since Thunder and Consolation. In many ways it's quite a change of style for them being far darker and less anthemic than the likes of T&C. There certainly not many signs of the folky influences apparent on T&C. The album is also interesting because it comes across as a bit more of a band effort, rather than just JS + session musicians. JS said it was an album for drummers, and indeed it is. Lots of very interesting tribal perscussion going on - in places you could be listening to the sort of rhythm sections you'd expect to find on a Creatures album. Stand out tracks so far are probably Red Earth (all about Africa - very tribal, and a song that really builds to an explosive climax), Too Close to the Sun (drums!!) and Another Imperial Day (I guess Higher Wall part 2...money is free to move, but not people...). Also hard (even for an old cynic like me) not to have a tear in the eye at the end of "Fireworks Night" a track dedicated to the late Robert Heaton. Definately a recommended purchase...
New Model Army are one of those rare bands that seem to be improving with age, apart from a slight lull with Love of Hopeless Causes, every successive release has built on the previous, the last album 'Eight' was almost perfect. With this in mind I eagerly placed 'Carnival' into my cd player and sat back, I Wasn't quite sure what to make of it on first listen,'Water' is the weakest song on the album and it astounds me that it is the opener. but having played it several times, I now think that this may be their best work to date. Standout tracks are 'Carlisle Road', 'Red Earth', 'Another Imperial Day' and lets not forget 'Fireworks Night' dedicated to the late Robert Heaton. NMA are a criminally underrated UK band, do yourself a favour and buy this cd.
When I first listened to the album I thought it lacked the passion of previous albums by NMA, however the album is a grower and after a few more listens, I now appreciate the good album it is. New Model Army continue to be one of the best live bands, and this album shows they can still write damn good music.
Lifelong fans of the band generally claim that their earlier work is their best, and that more recent efforts (until 2007's "High") haven't quite cut the mustard. Maybe it's because I only really got into the band when High came out (despite a brief flirtation with "No Rest"), but I'm inclined to disagree. To me, they are a band who have got better and better as the years have gone by, with this album as their pinnacle.
Every track is a winner, with all the usual themes covered. From Man's intolerance of his fellow Man (Another Imperial Day), to Man's rape and pillage of the planet (Island), from gritty social commentary (Carlisle Road) to a poignant farewell to former drummer and close friend, Rob Heaton (Fireworks Night), this album has it all. And with Red Earth the crowning jewel, Carnival, for me, is quite simply the best album by the best band around.
A new album is due later this year (September-ish) and, if the songs previewed in recent live performances (States Radio, Today Is A Good Day) are anything to go by, the band look set to continue my theory that age has bettered them
Pure class. Play it loud. As loud as you can. Red Earth and Imperial Day are among the best songs NMA have ever recorded. The whole album thrums with energy. It is bliss and rage and truth. It is New Model Army.